After witnessing another Christmas tree burn festival (Jan. 3 Noozhawk article, “Solvang Fires Up a Flaming Farewell to Another Julefest Celebration”) and the miles and hours-long plume of toxins created in Solvang, I’m thoroughly convinced this city doesn’t care about its citizens, future generations or the planet.

Festival after festival the city seems to only prove that it will do anything to create profit opportunity for the vendors downtown. Officials dangerously route thousands of vehicles through residential neighborhoods, even past an elementary school, regularly not develop even the most simple of traffic safety plans, adopt sanctuary city policies that use up the extremely limited housing, and even burn organic matter en masse and label it “fire safety education” and create a “festival” out of it.

Hundreds of wealthy people walking around consuming expensive wine and food while watching the city openly violate EPA and Santa Barbara County air quality regulations is not “fire safety education.” It is profiteering.

The City of Solvang does not seem to believe in climate change. It must know better.

Anything for profits. Anything for the wealthy. Solvang is a microcosm of the plutocracy that has infected our great country. Shame on you, Solvang.

Ken Williams

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I am on the boards of directors of Democratic Women and the Women’s Political Committee. Feminist issues are of central importance to me.

So I was happy to read Rachel Aarons’ Dec. 20 letter to the editor about renaming a street for Dolores Huerta, as we have already done for her work partner, Caesar Chavez. It is a serious omission for City of Santa Barbara to credit Chavez and ignore the woman who did exactly the same work as he did.

This can only be seen as an appalling — but not uncommon — example of honoring men and discrediting women, based on nothing beyond their gender.

Accomplishing this street-naming would be a step in the direction of realizing the goal of equal rights for women. We should all get behind this effort.

E.J. Borah
Santa Barbara

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I was somewhat bulkily dressed for our cool weather when I went to an ATM to deposit checks and get some cash. The ATM was not in a good mood and refused to read the amount on one of the checks. Of course, I did not know which check or what amount, and had to have it spat out at me, fumble for my glasses and start over. Then the cash.

Meanwhile, a small queue was rapidly coming to the boil behind me. When I finally finished trailing a yard of receipt, I failed to zip up the pocket on my jacket. It wasn’t until I passed Santa Barbara Golf Club that I noticed no more bulge pressing against my leg.

Everyone must know that dreadful sinking feeling as one realizes … O.M.G.! Credit cards, an interminable wait at the DMV for a replacement license, to say nothing of $400. All have gone.

Quickly I turned around, and trying to ignore the exasperated looks from motorists pedaled back against the traffic along my exact route. Called at the bank. NADA!

Needless to say, my wife was less than sympathetic with her stupid husband, and I set about tackling the automated credit-card canceling maze. (Memo to file: For goodness sake at least have the 16-digit credit card number and the 800-telephone number written down somewhere or you might as well apply for a place at the loony bin!)

This morning, I was just hauling myself out of bed when there was a knock on the front door, and a blue bike is outside the window. I hurried to see who it could possibly be so early in the morning.

Talk about angels! There stood a young man holding out my wallet. I could not tell his nationality and his English was very limited. Only after chasing him and grasping his hand, could I persuade him to accept one of the Ben Franklins that were all still there with all the credit cards — untouched.

Unfortunately, I forgot to check if he had wings before he flew off into the New Year.

Gilbert Roberts
Santa Barbara

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Citizens of Santa Barbara County, beware. Every day there are articles and advertisements about marijuana in our local newspapers. The drug, being promoted for medical, recreational and economic reasons, is now legal in California.

However, has anyone considered the devastating affect marijuana has on teens and young adults? According to Joseph Garbely, chief medical officer for the Caron Foundation, we now see “on a regular basis young people with marijuana-induced psychosis. … We see a significant misperception about the safety and efficacy of marijuana among our teens and young-adult patient population.”

 How does the drug affect young people? Terri Randall, medical director of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Substance Use Disorder Clinic, said young patients can experience anxiety and detachment from reality from cannabis use.

Also, especially concerning to medical and treatment providers, are the damage done to developing brains by increasingly potent stains. According to the American Medical Association, there is evidence that people who start using cannabis as teenagers risk suffering from impaired memory, attention and cognitive function that may not improve.

A study at Duke University found that people who began regular, continued marijuana use as teenagers, that continued into adulthood, showed an average decline in IQ of 8 points.

Citizens of Santa Barbara County, it is time to get real. It is time to get informed about the dangers of cannabis to our young people. Our children are our future!

Diana Thorn

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